Western Woodland |
The History of|
The Western Woodland
|[Introduction] [1636-1799] [1800-1899] [1900 To Present]|
The western woodland has seen several farms come and go over the years from Thomas Hazard, a Portsmouth founder to the Chases and ultimately Raytheon. Of specific interest the southwest corner 60 acres was the site of the old Portsmouth Asylum or "Town Farm" as it came to be known. Other usage was primarily agricultural.
© 1999, W. Saslow
© 2000, W. Saslow
© 2000, W. Saslow
© 1999, W. Saslow
Thomas Hazard held the land as part of the original Portsmouth Land Grant. He is reportedly buried on the site of the Town Farm.
From about 1833 to 1926, the Town Farm was under Portsmouth ownership for the housing of the Town's poor and indigent.
A Visit to the Poor Farm: A Committee's Report:
Portsmouth, April 18, 1840
The committee apointed to visit the Asylum to asertain the situation of the inmates make the following Report:
Testimony of the keeper Richard R. Northup, Mens fare, the fare for breakfast is bread and milk or milk poridge for about four weeks they have had water poridge when we was without milk they always have as much bread as they want. Diner, bread meat and sause, bread and saused as much as they want. Meat I cut off a large slice and put it into each dish which for the most part is as much as they want. Benjamin Brownell and Joseph Hall 1 think would eat more if they could get it. Supper the same as breakfast.
Womens fare for breakfast. They have tea or coffee with bread and butter and molasses they have as much bread as they want. Butter we cut off a piece and put into each plate, they have good bread. Diner the same as the men. Supper the same as breakfast. never had any orders from the committee from what it was when I first came here. Mrs. Northups Testimony, about the same as her husbands.
Thomas Cornells testimony. Been here two years 13th last January. I know no difference in the fare from what it was when I first came here have enough to eat and that is good. I feel satisfied with the fare, I should be glad to have something a little better sometimes.
Lydia Alen, I have been here about two years I have enough to eat and good enough, Treated very well no reason to complain.
Lydie Lawton been here eight years, fare is very well no reason to complain.
Elizabeth Brownell. I have been here 7 years last June fare the same that I did before Mr. Northup came here.
The committee on vewing the House found it in good order considering the inmates of such a dweling, the beds and other furniture appear good and clean. The lodgeing rooms in the garet are in a bad state owing to the roof, for the want of shingling. Your committee think it nessesary that there should be some repairs imediately on the roof of the House. The cube in the seller apears to be a decent room we should not think it a very suitable place to put a person a long time in. Your committee think there is not much cause for complaint.
Fees three dollars
- Sylvester Hathaway
Rules and Regulations for Government of the Portsmouth Assylum
- 1838 -
Whereas the direction and care of the Portsmouth Assylum and of the Poor of the Town of Portsmouth require that certain standing rules and regulations be adopted and established concerning the same.
Be it therefore ordered by the Town of Portsmouth in town meeting assembled on the twenty eighth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight that the management and government of the Assylum and the Poor aforesaid shall be as follows:
The Commissioners of the Assylum shall hereafter advertise in the month of November (whenever it shall become necessary to procure a new keeper or keepers) by setting up three notices in three public places in said town of Portsmouth and by publishing the same in one of the newspapers published in Newport for a male and female to keep, and manage said Assylum and Poor; to commence on the 25th day of March next after said notice and after notice for one month as aforesaid the commissioners shall select and contract with two such persons for Keepers as said Commissioners shall judge suitable and fit, and report the contract at the next April town meeting.
Commissioners shall meet at the Assylum once in every month, to inspect into the state of all maters relating to the support and employment of the Poor, and to give such orders and directions respecting the same as to them shall appear necessary and consistant with the designs of the institution.; they shall also meet at such other times as they may judge nessessary for the purposes aforesaid, and at such other places as the charge of the Poor in Portsmouth may require their attendance.
The Commissioners to take regular turns in visiting the Assylum and to attend as often as a majority of them may think proper for the purpose of directing the Keepers in the management of the Poor.
A male and female of approved integrity and ability shall be selected by the Commissioners as Keepers of the assylum conformable to the power vested in them by the town.
The male keeper of the Assylum shall keep a register of all persons admitted into the same, and note down under the directions of the Commissioners, the time of their entrance, death or discharge, their age, employment or in a book furnished for that purpose by the Commissioners.
The male keeper of the Assylum shall keep a correct inventory (to be furnished by the Commissioners) of all linnen bedding, tables, chairs, bedsteads and all other household and kitchen furniture belonging to the Institution, enumerating the respective qualities of each article and noting the condition of the same; said inventory to be added to and altered as new effects are procured or the old worn out or destroyed.
The male keeper to superintend all within the AssyIum as well as within the out-buildings and other premises thereunto belonging and to see that the rules of the Institution, and the orders of the Commissioners be duly observed; he shall take particular care that the clothing, bedding and other articles furnished for the poor, be not wilfully or wantonly wasted or destroyed; he shall without delay inform the Commissioners of every person who shall waste or destroy any such property.
8th -The male keeper shall see that the inmates of said Assylum (except such as are sick) rise early in the morning and wash themselves before they eat; and see that all fires and lights are extinguished except such as may be nessessary to be kept, and those shall be left by him under proper care.
The male keeper shall as much as possible attend to the security and proper management of insane or deranged persons; he shall have power to take to his aid, one or more of the inmates of the Assylum whose duty it shall be to execute his orders.
The female keeper shall take care that the rooms be properly cleaned and swept, the beds made every day, the windows opened for airing the house, the inmates kept clean in their apparel, that they have a change of clothing once a week, that the beds be aired once a month and be kept clear of vermin, that all foul clothing and bedding be washed in due time and with proper care; she is especially intrusted with the superintendance and care of the females and children in the Assylum; and shall observe that nurses and others employed under her directions behave with becoming attention and humanity to the sick, infirm and aged placed under their care; and discharge their several duties with diligence and facility for which services and other occasions of the house the Commissioners, or any one of them shall select such as so many persons from among the people in the Assylum as he or they may deem fit and sufficient to assist the female keeper; and when any of the Poor die at the Assylum, she is to take charge of the clothing of the deceased and cause them to be washed and cleansed, and if necessary to be mended and to deliver them to the male keeper, who shall deposit them in safety, and give an account thereof to the Commissioners or to one of them, to be disposed of according to his, or their orders. All persons dying at the Assylum, his or her relations or friends may have the liberty of burying them at their own expence; but if at the town’s expense, they may be buried at the Assylum or elsewhere at the discretion of the Commissioners.
All persons upon their admission shall be examined by the male or female or by his or her order, to see if they are free from disease or otherwise unclean, such as have any disorder or are unclean, shall be placed in some apartment by themselves until they are cleansed.
No intercourse whatever, shall be allowed between the unmarried males and females belonging to the Assylum and all unlawful connections between the sexes is strictly forbidden, any breach of this rule shall be punished as the Commissioners may sentence.
None of the inmates of the house shall strike, abuse or give ill language to each other - curse, swear or be guilty of immoral conduct.
No one of the Poor shall go off the farm without permission from the Commissioners or keepers; every one who obtains this permission shall return in good order, at the appointed time; if anyone should be suspected of bringing strong liquor - or stolen property into said Assylum or on the farm, the keeper shall search such persons and if found guilty, shall be punished as the Commissioners or any one of them may direct.
No one shall beg for money or any other thing from any person who may visit the Assylum on pain of being punished as the Commissioners may direct.
In all cases of Solitary Confinement for criminal conduct, the person shall be debared from seeing or conversing with any person except the Commissioners - the keepers or the person employed to supply their wants; and their food shall consist of bread and water and shall be kept in confinement as long as the Commissioners or any one of them shall direct.
No one shall smoke or chew tobacco in his or her bed on penalty of forfeiting the liberty of smoking or chewing, so long as the Commissioners or any one of them may direct.
If any person maintained in the Assylum shall wilfully deface the walls or break the windows of the house or injure any of the premises or shall disturb the house by clamour or otherwise, or shall quarrel, abuse or strike any of the Family, or shall behave disrespectifully to any of those having the care and charge of the house, or shall drink to excess or be guilty of theft or embezzlement or shall profanely curse and swear or be guilty of lying shall be put into the dark room and there kept so long as the Commissioners or one of them shall judge fit.
Every person directed by the Commissioners or keepers to work, shall immediately repair thereto at the place and time appointed for that purpose and shall diligently attend to his or her employment for so many hours as to him or her may be prescribed by the keeper.
If any person capable of working shall refuse or neglect to work or shall be idle or will not perform the task of work to him or her prescribed or alloted; or shall spoil or waste anything delivered to him or her or shall violate any of the orders of the keeper or keepers, shall be punished as the Commissioriers or any one of them may direct.
The Commissioners shall purchase all nessesary stock and materials for the inmates or poor to be employed in, and sell the same when manufactured.
The afore written rules and regulations shall be read to all the Poor of the Assylum (who have the capacity to understand them) once in every month by one of the Commissioners or keepers.
Town Farm Inventory
- 1833 -
An inventory of Stock, hay, farming utentials, Corn, potatoes, carrots, turnips, household furniture, Clothing as now on the farm belonging to the town of Portsmouth, taken and appraised by us the subscribers this 23rd day of March AD 1833:
1 large wheel - 1 trunk five Chests 1 old case of Drawers - 1 Bake Ketle - 1 Cradle, 7 Bedsteads, 7 cords, 2 straw beds - 5 feather beds, 2 old Blankets, 1 old Coverlet, 1 Comforter, 1 tin plate, Stove, 2 armed Chairs &five other Chairs . 1 Blanket, 1 rug, 1 quilt, 1 Bolster & pillows, 1 Blanket quilt - 1 bolster, 2 large & 3 other Chairs, 1 bolster, 2 pillows - 2 Blankets, 1 flannel sheat, 1 Coverlet, 1 linen wheel - 1 Tea table, 1 small pot, 1 skillet, 1 Bake kettle, 2 Tea kettles, 2 pair of Andirens, 1 small dish kettle - 3 washing Tubs and 1 pail.
Articles of Clothing furnished the poor by the Commissioners:
Stephen B. Cornell
Richard Sherman Jr. Appraisers
Inventory of Goods and stock
at the Portsmouth Assylum
© 2000, Raytheon Company
© 2000, W. Saslow
© 2000, W. Saslow
1900 To Present|
A 1921 map shows the Town Farm and outbuildings near what would become the waste treatment plant. The remainder of the western woodland was owned by A. Decosta. On 11 October 1926, the Town Farm was leased to the public. In 1959, Raytheon purchased the land where the Western Woodland now stands.
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